10 Survival Hacks That Could Save Your Life

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Imagine being stranded in the wilderness with no rescue in sight. Would you know how to survive? From finding water to starting a fire, there are essential skills that could make the difference between life and death. In this article, we’ll explore 10 survival hacks that could save your life in a dire situation. So, let’s dive in!

Hack 1: Starting a Fire with a Battery

Materials Needed

  • A battery (AA, AAA, or 9V)
  • Steel wool or aluminum foil
  • Tinder (dry leaves, twigs, or paper)

Steps to Start a Fire

  1. Stretch the steel wool or aluminum foil so it’s thin and has a larger surface area.
  2. Touch the battery’s positive and negative terminals to the steel wool or foil.
  3. As it heats up, transfer the hot material to your tinder and gently blow on it to ignite a flame.

Hack 2: Making a Solar Still

How Solar Stills Work

A solar still is a simple way to collect and purify water using the sun’s energy. As the sun evaporates water from the ground, it condenses on the inner surface of the still and drips into a container.

Building Your Own Solar Still

  1. Dig a hole in the ground about 2 feet deep and wide.
  2. Place a container in the center of the hole.
  3. Cover the hole with a clear plastic sheet and secure it with rocks or dirt around the edges.
  4. Place a small rock on the center of the plastic sheet to create a slope for water to drip into the container.
  5. Leave the still in direct sunlight for several hours and collect the purified water.

Hack 3: Using the Watch as a Compass

Analog Watches

  1. Hold your watch horizontally, with the hour hand pointing towards the sun.
  2. Find the midpoint between the hour hand and the 12 on the watch face.
  3. This midpoint represents the north-south line, with the direction away from the sun being north.

Digital Watches

  1. Visualize an analog hour hand on your digital watch, pointing towards the sun.
  2. Follow the same steps as above to find the north-south line.

Hack 4: Crafting a Fishing Hook

Materials and Tools

  • A small piece of wood, bone, or durable plastic
  • A knife or sharp-edged tool

Creating Your Hook

  1. Carve the material into a V-shape, with a pointed end and a slightly wider opposite end.
  2. Cut a small notch near the pointed end to secure your fishing line.
  3. Tie your line to the wider end and you’re ready to fish!

Hack 5: Signaling for Help

The Mirror Method

  1. Hold a mirror or any reflective surface towards the sun.
  2. Angle the reflection so that it flashes across the sky in a repeating pattern.
  3. This will catch the attention of anyone nearby, alerting them to your presence.

The Fire Method

  1. Create a smoky fire by burning green branches or leaves.
  2. The smoke will be visible from a distance, increasing your chances of being spotted.

Hack 6: Building a Shelter

The Lean-to Shelter

  1. Find a sturdy branch or pole, and prop it up at a 45-degree angle against a tree or rock.
  2. Place smaller branches along the length of the support at an angle, creating a wall.
  3. Cover the branches with leaves, grass, or other debris for insulation.

The A-Frame Shelter

  1. Create a tripod structure using three sturdy branches or poles.
  2. Lay additional branches horizontally along the length of the structure to create walls.
  3. Cover the walls with debris for insulation and protection from the elements.

Hack 7: Making a Water Filter

Supplies Needed

  • A plastic bottle or container
  • Sand, gravel, and activated charcoal
  • Cloth or coffee filter

Constructing the Water Filter

  1. Cut the bottom off the plastic bottle or container.
  2. Place a layer of cloth or coffee filter at the neck of the container.
  3. Add a layer of activated charcoal, followed by sand and gravel.
  4. Pour water through the filter and collect the purified water in another container.

Hack 8: Navigating by the Stars

Northern Hemisphere

  1. Locate the North Star (Polaris) by finding the Big Dipper constellation.
  2. Follow the two stars at the end of the Big Dipper’s “bowl” in a straight line, and Polaris will be the bright star in that direction.
  3. The North Star is always aligned with true north.

Southern Hemisphere

  1. Find the Southern Cross constellation.
  2. Extend an imaginary line through the long axis of the Southern Cross.
  3. The point where this line intersects the horizon is due south.

Hack 9: Creating a Rain Catcher

Materials Required

  • A large tarp, plastic sheet, or garbage bag
  • Rope or cord
  • A container to collect water

Setting Up the Rain Catcher

  1. Tie the corners of the tarp or plastic sheet to nearby trees or poles, creating a slope.
  2. Place the container at the lowest point of the slope.
  3. Rainwater will collect on the tarp and flow into the container for easy collection.

Hack 10: Identifying Edible Plants

Universal Edibility Test

Before consuming any plant in the wild, use the Universal Edibility Test to minimize the risk of ingesting toxic substances:

  1. Separate the plant into its individual components (leaves, stems, roots, and flowers).
  2. Smell each part for any strong or unpleasant odors.
  3. Place a small piece of the plant on your inner elbow or wrist and wait for 15 minutes. If irritation or a reaction occurs, do not eat the plant.
  4. Chew a small amount of the plant and hold it in your mouth for 15 minutes. If it tastes bitter, sour, or causes a burning sensation, spit it out and do not eat the plant.
  5. If no adverse reactions occur, swallow the plant and wait a few hours. If you feel fine, the plant is likely safe to consume.

Common Edible Plants

  • Dandelions
  • Cattails
  • Wild berries (be cautious and only eat them if you are sure of their identification)
  • Wild garlic and onions

Always research and learn to identify the plants in your local area before venturing into the wild.


Surviving in the wild requires knowledge, resourcefulness, and adaptability. These 10 survival hacks can make all the difference when you’re facing a life-or-death situation. Remember, preparation and practice are key to ensuring you can rely on these skills when you need them most.

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Q1: Can I start a fire using a smartphone battery?

A: While it is possible to start a fire using a smartphone battery, it can be dangerous, as puncturing or short-circuiting the battery may cause it to explode or leak toxic chemicals. Stick to using AA, AAA, or 9V batteries for a safer option.

Q2: How long does it take for a solar still to produce water?

A: A solar still typically takes several hours to produce a small amount of water, depending on the sunlight and humidity conditions. It’s important to set it up early in the day to maximize water production.

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Q3: Can I use a digital watch as a compass if it doesn’t display an analog clock face?

A: Yes, you can use a digital watch as a compass even without an analog display. Simply visualize an analog hour hand pointing towards the sun and follow the same steps as you would with an analog watch.

Q4: What can I use as a substitute for activated charcoal in a homemade water filter?

A: If you don’t have activated charcoal, you can use crushed charcoal from a campfire as an alternative. It may not be as effective, but it will still help to remove some impurities from the water.

Q5: Are all plants that pass the Universal Edibility Test safe to eat?

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A: While the Universal Edibility Test is a useful tool, it’s not foolproof. Some plants may still cause gastrointestinal upset or have long-term toxic effects. Always research and learn to identify the plants in your local area before consuming them.

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